Sunday, April 22, 2007

Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting)

No, I didn't turn into a British skinhead and go out drinking and fighting last night. (Sorry, Sir Elton John)

I picked this title because last night, Saturday night, I was thrown into battle of a different kind. I was really hoping not to be tested so soon after climbing my way out of the dregs I was in. But the gang wanted to go out and have wings. I was exhausted from my big project for the day (I finally cleared out all my and my sister's stuff out of the attic of my previous house and spent the afternoon deciding what got thrown in the dumpster, what goes to the church rummage sale, and what is kept) and had no energy to cook or to fight the majority rule.

So we went out to the wing place and I did my utmost not to cave in to the deep fried, sauce-laden wings. I ordered a spinach salad that came with grape tomatoes, hunks of fresh mozzarella (I gave Hubby four of them) and put FF raspberry vinaigrette on it. Their special for the night was steamed shrimp for 30 cents each, so I ordered a dozen (gave Mabel 2) and dipped them in cocktail sauce, not the drawn butter (which I think is just kind of gross anyway). I did wind up sneaking items off of Hubby's and Mabel's wing baskets, but it was just sticks of celery.

Just when I thought the war was won, the gang decided we needed dessert, too. Ugh. We drove to the nearby Dairy Queen, but as fate would have it, they had just closed. But that wasn't going to stop my friends' need to overfeed; we headed back for home and stopped at a Denny's-type family restaurant that specializes in ice cream desserts.

I looked at the dessert menu and felt really down; even their "light" desserts were full-fat ice cream, hot fudge and all the other high calorie fixin's, just in smaller portions. And I was bound and determined not to fold with that doctor's appointment looming on Monday.

Just then I had an idea. When the waitress came to take orders I asked her if they had any kind of fruit plate or salad. They had both, and I went with the plate because the salad came with cottage cheese or sherbet and I didn't want those. Well, when the desserts arrived my fruit plate was the most attractive thing on the table. Two or three people said, "Hey, that looks really good -- I'll trade you!" I gave Hubby some of the honeydew melon because it isn't one of my favorites; Mabel wanted some of the grapes so I threw some her way; and I had some banana slivers left over which I gave to the two teen boys who were with us, and they dove into them like starving wolves.

Actually, even at dinner time a couple people made comments about how good my salad looked, or that the shrimp looked really tasty. These same people ordered the wings, plus cheese fries and fried zucchini. At the end of the evening most of them were complaining about how full and uncomfortable they were, yet I felt fine.

While there is a sense of accomplishment and pride when I can succeed on an evening like that, I also feel the toll it takes, too. It takes a lot of strength to fight those urges to order the deep-fried or ice cream delights while everyone else around you is revelling in it. And the truth is, I can only do it for so long until I cave in from diet fatigue, like I did over Easter. I wish I could achieve some miracle cure or achieve some higher consciousness that would elevate me above the desire for fattening food. But I'm pretty sure we're hard-wired from our caveman days to hone in on the foods that will provide the most energy (calories) for our effort -- namely, fat and sugar. It's to break those instinctual drives.

But I will say, my meal and dessert were quite tasty and satisfying and I was happy with all my choices, even if they weren't covered in hot fudge or come with a side of bleu cheese.

Now, how do I get out of lunch out with the in-laws today? Think, brain, think...


Lori said...

Sudden headache? Sinus headache? Explosive _____________ (insert your own choice, upper or lowers)?

I am, absolutely, positively proud of you Andrea for making those choices. Ask and ye shall receive -- at least if you ask the right waitress.

I definitely know how you feel with the feelings of anger, resentment, and feeling tired of doing the right thing. If someone else had a similar meal or dessert, would that have made you feel better or less alone?

It occurred to me that a lot of it was that you were tired to begin with from all of your big projects (and that was HUGE!). Whenever I'm tired, my sense of balance and proportion gets totally out of whack. I hope you do something nice for yourself as a reward so you don't get fatigued.


Jen said...

Great job!